SF Sketchfest co-founder Cole Stratton selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening as we head into the second weekend of the festival.
Cole: This is Harland Williams’ first SF Sketchfest, and we’re beyond thrilled to have him. He’s doing a boatload of different shows this weekend, but I’d recommend checking out his headlining show “Harland Williams: A Night of Stand-Up and Sketches with Sean Tweedley.” Harland has an incredibly hilarious point-of-view and fantastic energy and makes me laugh like an idiot. Catch him at Brava Theater this Friday, January 30th at 7:30pm.
Dave Willis and Dana Snyder, two of the madmen behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force, are bringing their goofy ways to Marines’ Memorial Theatre for a night of all-things Aqua Teen on Saturday, January 30th at 7:30pm. I mean, you don’t often get to hang out with Meatwad, Master Shake and Carl, so why miss this opportunity?
If Aqua Teen isn’t your style, then I recommend you check out Charlotte’s Shorts. I caught my final recommendation down at the Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, and I can tell you that it is a truly delightful night of theater — six actors read various short essays and character monologues written by Charlotte Dean. The cast is outstanding — Jordan Black, Daniele Gaither, Michael Hitchcock, Laraine Newman, Mindy Sterling and Gary Anthony Williams. It’s Saturday, January 30th at 8pm at the Eureka Theater.
SF Sketchfest co-founder Janet Varney selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows as we head into the second weekend of the festival.
Janet: My first pick is coming up quickly- it’s this Thursday at Cobb’s. Justin Willman was first introduced to me by Neil Patrick Harris, who as many people know is a huge magic fan. Then Chris Hardwick met Justin, and now Nerdist is producing Justin’s pilot for Comedy Central. Sorry to drop all of those names right out of the gate, but if you haven’t heard of Justin yet, I guess my point is… you will. So why not get ahead of the game and see him Thursday? Plus, his opener is the extremely talented Marcus Monroe, who won the prestigious Andy Kaufman award and does things onstage that you won’t believe are possible. I’m not kidding. Check them both out on Thursday January 29th at Cobb’s at 8pm!.
Then the following night, we have the inimitable Greg Proops. Here’s the thing: on speculation, I think Greg might actually BE the Smartest Man I know. He’s wickedly funny, incredibly versatile, and has one of the fastest-working brains in comedy. See all of this in action at his “Proopcast” this Friday night, January 30th at Cobb’s at 8pm.
And then from Proops, you can just walk down to Doc’s Lab, the great new venue that took over when the historic Purple Onion closed, and see two of my favorite stand-ups, Aparna Nancherla and Guy Branum in one of our best show titles this festival: Aparna Nancherla & Guy Branum: Diversity Quota: A Night of Comedy with an Indian Lady and a Gay Jew. Need I say more? That’s Friday at 10:30pm at Doc’s Lab. (They also have an 8pm show, but you’ll be at Cobb’s watching The Smartest Man in the World.).
The second night of SF Sketchfest 2015 boasted many (23!) gut busting lineups, not the least of which was two sold out shows featuring Jenny Slate & Friends at the Brava Theater. Her Big Terrific co-star Max Silvestri spoke of his harrowing flight out from New York and the importance of having both of your two front teeth, while Ron Funches (“Undateable”) could barely keep himself from cracking up. Fans looking for extended riffs from Slate on the brilliance of Space Jam and Michael Jordan surely all went home happy.
For the first SF Sketchfest show at Doc’s Lab, Ric Barbera (“I Hate My 30’s!”) joined Brice Beckham (“Mr. Belvedere”) and David Fickas (“Burn Notice”) during I Made You A Mixtape for a few Weezer parodies before launching into an epic acoustic version of The Blue Album classic, “Surf Wax America.” Other highlights included videos from Liam Sullivan (Kelly’s “Shoes”) as Bob Dulap and a few songs from Eli Braden (“Jimmy Kimmel Live”).
StarTalk Live with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Eugene Mirman took place at the beautifully renovated Nourse. The bow-tied science guy was joined by guests Dr. Scott Hubbard, NASA’s first Mars Program Director, and Director of the Solar System Research Virtual Institute at Ames (SSERVI) Dr. Yvonne Pendleton for an exploration of the solar system as our human destination. Mirman’s fellow “Bob’s Burgers” cast member Jon Benjamin (“Archer,” “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist”) joined the conversation as the surprise star.
Jon Benjamin then headed to North Beach for his Cobb’s show: Night of Not Interested In Hosting This Show. He took this literally, apologizing to the audience for the amount they paid for what he deemed would be a lackluster performance. With help from Leo Allen (“Conan O’Brien”), the two proceeded to spend the next ten minutes handing out $3 to everyone in the audience. This was promptly followed up by Benjamin explaining that bit was worth at least a dollar which led to him and Allen heading back out into the audience to get a dollar back from each crowd member. Eugene Mirman (“Bob’s Burgers”) and Janine Brito (“Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell”) and music from John Roderick (The Long Winters) with Jason Finn (The Presidents of the United States of America) rounded out the Cobb’s set.
Check out more photos from the first Saturday of SF Sketchfest on Facebook photo album, or on Instagram: @sf_sketchfest.
Thanks to “As Seen at the Fest” contributors Pete Merriman, Morgan Davis and Jeff Lang.
The Opening Night of SF Sketchfest 2015 kicked off with two big shows.
At the Marines Memorial, w00tstock Founders Night, treated audiences to almost four hours of geeky good times. Paul & Storm serenaded the crowd, moving an audience member to toss pink panties onto the stage within moments of the first strums. Rebecca Watson presented a slideshow on how she’s learned to handle internet trolls. Wil Wheaton told a story about how he tried to be a hero but ended up scaring a woman in a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Adam Savage mentioned how last year during Sketchfest was the first time his twin sons watched his act. They perched in the wings and he absentmindedly talked about penises quite a bit, which embarrassed them. He mentioned they were there again for Opening Night, which influenced his decision to choose juggling as a safer subject. Everyone took the stage for the final sing-along (Adam Savage, Wil Wheaton, John Roderick, Paul and Storm, Rebecca Watson and Jason Finn), which devolved into free riffing that was one of the funniest, silliest half-hours San Francisco audiences have been treated to since last year’s w00tstock.
At Cobb’s, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac presented cream of the crop comedians Natasha Muse, Maronzio Vance, Phoebe Robinson and Cameron Esposito. Their sets tackled gender, race, romance, sleep lurkers, periods, and pubic hair.
Thanks to “As Seen at the Fest” contributors Jeff Lang and Morgan Davis.
SF Sketchfest co-founder Janet Varney selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening on the first weekend of the festival.
Janet: First of all, “I Made You a Mixtape” wins for having one of my favorite titles for a show. As if that weren’t incentive enough to get excited, it’s a show that features some of my favorite LA sketch and music performers: Ric Barbera, Brice Beckham, Eli Braden, Pam Cook, David Fickas, Rachel Lawrence, Liam Sullivan and Kirk Zipfel. Together and separately, they’ve put together some of the most funny and creative shows I’ve seen at the famed Acme Theatre. Plus there’s Oakland faves Fancy Ketchup! Mix it up on Friday the 23rd, 8pm at Doc’s Lab.
Next, because I am a fan of anything remotely “modern jackass” (heads up, “This American Life” fans), I’m excited about “You’re the Expert” with Chris Duffy. It’s a ridiculously fun show where b.s. academia takes center stage, thanks to guests Wyatt Cenac, Nato Green and Phoebe Robinson. Off-the-cuff absurdity at its best, Saturday the 24th at 8pm at the Eureka!
Then there’s the crazy talented James Adomian. In addition to doing some of the best impressions you’ll ever see, he’s an incredible actor, writer and standup. “James Adomain and Friends” has a heap of awesome guests to boot: Janine Brito, Faith Choyce, Sean Donnelly, and Phoebe Robinson. That’s Saturday the 24th at 10:30pm at the perennially cool Verdi Club.
Check Facebook for more staff selections and picks from the co-founders through out the fest.